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game analyses

Wheel of Fortune Analysis

William Casey
ENG 380 New Media
Professor Alex Reid
June 11, 2013
Real Life Game’s Transformation
In the world of computer games there is a genre that recreates real life games into a new medium. This can be achieved by taking a game that is already in existence and adapting it to the world of computer’s. Two games I have spent much time playing are Wheel of Fortune and Backgammon. Obviously these are not the only real life games that have been transposed into gaming but they work as perfect examples of how an already existing medium of gaming is transformed from reality to virtual. Other examples may include Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and any other TV game shows. TV game shows are not the only games that are adapted to video gaming. I have already mentioned Backgammon but you could include games such as Solitaire and Scrabble to fit into this genre. Any game that has ever been invented has probably been put into the virtual world. What the video game has done has taken a real life interactive process and made it an image on a screen that you use a controller to maneuver. In much way’s it is the same in the aspect of you interacting with a game but it has changed it into a new type of interaction.
The main focus of what I am trying to get at is that video games that fall into this genre cannot duplicate an already existing game exactly but turn them into a whole new type of game that has different parameter’s and rules. If you take a board game and make it into a videogame you have changed the whole concept of what it represents. Take Backgammon for example, it has made its way onto computer’s and even into the world of on-line play. If you would like to play a game with your friend in Hawaii then you may. From a social standpoint this is a success in you being able to hang out with a friend that you may not get to see often, even if it is simply a virtual experience. But is this the same as playing a game of Backgammon in the same room? I concede that this has hampered the relationship that is based on physical interaction and given it a new form in the way that the game become a new entity from the real life play of it.
It is far from the same thing and I will tell you why. When you sit with a person in front of a Backgammon board you can look in the person’s eyes. It is a battle between two people with the same drive and will to win. Even if you are using a video chat with someone it is not the same. You cannot smell the persons’ deodorant and see the frustration and worry that a person is exuding, the humanity has left it and the mechanical has entered. It is not the same game and no matter how you try for it to be it cannot. Take away the on-line aspect and just simply play against the computer; it becomes a simple thing to do on your own. You can play the computer and it is fun and exciting but the competitive spirit is not the similar. If you are losing you can simply stop it and start over. When you make your moves the possible places that you can move your pieces are highlighted for you. You do not have to strategize as much as when it is in front of you, you only have to make the decision of which of the moves to make. The aspect of human error has been minimized and the game has changed. The goal of the game and the skeleton of the rules are the only things that stay the same.
In the world of TV game shows there are two perspectives to take into consideration. The first perspective is on the side of the television watcher and the second is on the actual person playing the game. Let’s look at the watcher first. By having a virtual world to play Wheel of Fortune on I am able to play a game that I had only been able to watch. Sure a person is able to figure out the puzzles from home but only in the time that it takes for the contestants to figure it out. We are constrained by the camera man’s shots; we can only look at the puzzle when it is displayed on our TV’s. We also do not get the credit or the prizes that come along with solving the puzzle. In fact we do not even get to choose the letters that are revealed on the screen. In this way we are on-lookers who feel as though we are playing the game, but truly we are not. In this way the video game gives us an alternate way of playing and although we do not get the prizes we do get the recognition of winning and having our name displayed for us. The accomplishment is greater than when watching the show.
If you are the lucky person that is chosen to appear on Wheel of Fortune you are thrown right into the game as a contestant and have the ability to get all the satisfaction of winning prizes and getting recognition. It would be hard to describe the feeling that the person feels being on the show because I have never appeared on the game show. I would assume it is similar to gambling. You have the thrill and rush of spinning the wheel and guessing letter’s and puzzles. It must be exhilarating standing with Pat Sajack and Vanna White while fighting to win money and prizes. The change from standing on stage is that on the video game version you have more time to look at the puzzles and choose letters. The TV version is more time sensitive than the world of the computer, it is real life time.
As the games of the real world are moved into the virtual we create a new genre of that draws people in that would not necessarily be tempted to play video games. The reasoning for doing this is to create a market for people to spend money, just like any other game. The new form of an old game may not be the same on all levels but has a similar enough psychological enticement for people to not really know the difference.

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